I donot remember the events that led to my initiation into the biking world but I do remember the night when a friend in a moment marked with extreme generosity – allowed me to try out his run down and rather old Suzuki – and I (utterly ignorant of the art of motrobiking then) revved so hard on a desolate but perferctly made road , that he started running after me, forseeing the the end of his bike and his friend – I survived.
And decided (against the instict that told me I would never ride/drive safely) that I’d love to have that experience every day even if that would mean , well death or worse – a physical handicap.
And now after a dozen accidents , a score near misses all sustained in one year of driving my beloved Honda – the pain that I have in my knee right now – and which makes me make sloemn promises to ride safely to all deared – evaporates the instant I hit a vast expanse of good road. Two days after my worst accident ever – I was still still cruising past 90 with a knee that refused to bend making shifting the gear a painful process – and all this not for sheer dare-devilry – but the passion , the thrill of (over)speeding; I had the realization that the only death can deaddict you off speed.
I got the first taste of the drug when I was 12 and Dad allowed me to ride a Go-cart in a leisure park in Gujarat – I hit everyone I possibly could – overtaking them as they mouthed obscenities – and then on a curve I did a head-on with the ‘tyre’- barricades – face on steering – chipped one tooth (which exists to date) – and tore up the joint between the lower jaw and the lower underlip.But what I remember most was I did not let the accelerator off for a moment – even when I’d hit the fence I slammed the brakes but never released the accelerator – that was the first and last time I rode a non-twowheeler.
My next vehicle-of-affection was the innocuous looking bicycle – an uncle taught me riding when I was at an age when my classmates used to drive in cars. Ran amok with it – including when once I fell and a cycle-rickshawallah in the city of Jalandhar went over it – twisting the rim out of shape.Then once I collided with a friend’s car head on and under the impact the front wheel jammed into the mudgard – so much so that I had to tow it with the front wheel lifted to the nearby repairman.
Then my friend baptized me into the world of motorbiking – he told me(in essence) that there the horses and the bulls – the former meant for speed and only speed while latter meant for ruggedness. I took no time in deciding that I wanted a horse but since a genuine horse was beyond my means – I took up a mule which has been reared (theoretically) in the same (Japanese) stables as the best stallions in the world – the Honda.
The bull(et) makes for magnificence of riding , of riding chest up – of riding graciously – of the trademark sound of its ‘hooves’ – of riding rough terrain. All that made no sense to me – all I cared for was speed , speed and more speed – even if the riding position invented for minimum wind drag gave me a back pain (after all you have but one youth).
I did not consider the ‘oxen’ at all -as the dictionary defines it – the Bulls with the balls removed – and cheap to buy – the Avengers and the Eliminators and the Enticers (sorry mate if you own one).
So I bought this mule and I knew no way of riding it ( a friend rode it home from the shop).I started off with some bad crashes into and out of the office parking ramp – both me and my mule still bear those first scars. I realised that it was 90 % fear and only 10 % inexperience. Then I undertook a confidence building drive by riding my mule continuously for some 8 hours and not hitting even once and gave myslelf the modest achievement that ‘I can ride well’.
Unlike what you would like to believe, the seriousness of my accidents increased the better I learnt riding – I took more and more risks and more and more times my luck ran out.
There are men who are trigger happy – and there are those who are throttle-happy – even amongst the trigger-happy there are those win accloades from the government and the ones who become victims of the others of their kind .
Ditto throttle-happy men.
A friend gave me an advice in good faith to give up biking and take on a 4-wheeler instead – ofcourse he knows better than that I’d listen.
No I have no death wish – I do WANT to ride safely – but its just like a cocaine-addict WANTING to quit.
I just envy the ‘both’ types – the one could ride with such abandon that they revel in speed and then they are safe too.Needless to say I would never get there.
I forsee therefore that there is a good possibilty that death would overtake me while I’m overspeeding – doing what I like doing most (esp since everything else I do is so mundane – so mediocre).
Speed is like love – it sure thrills but can kill.